Actor William Shatner counted down Wednesday to his wildest role yet: riding a rocket into space, courtesy of “Star Trek” fan Jeff Bezos.
Best known for his role as Captain Kirk, the 90-year-old Shatner joined three other passengers for the planned launch from West Texas.
Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, invited Shatner on the brief jaunt to the fringes of the final frontier, which will make him the oldest person in space.
It will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Bezos used for his own launch three months ago. The trip should last just 10 minutes, with the fully automated capsule reacing a maximum altitude of about 66 miles (106 kilometers) before parachuting back into the desert.
Shatner joins three others — two of them paying customers — in the burgeoning business of space tourism. Former NASA engineer and Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries, and Blue Origin Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers will be aboard the Blue Origin capsule with Shatner. Blue Origin did not divulge their ticket prices.
Beam me up, Scotty! Captain Kirk is headed to space! William Shatner is slated to join Blue Origin’s next spaceflight, the company, which is founded by Jeff Bezos, announced on Monday. “I’ve heard about space for a long time now … I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” Shatner said in a statement.
Bezos was at the expansive launch and landing site near Van Horn, Texas, to see the four off.
Earlier in the week, Shatner tweeted a photo of himself and his fellow crew members in blue flight suits that are far more futuristic than the yellow leotard-style uniform he wore on the original “Star Trek.”
“Aren’t we all adorbs!” he said.
Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson kicked off the U.S.-based space tourism boom on July 11, riding his own rocketship to space. Bezos followed nine days later aboard his own capsule. Elon Musk stayed behind as his SpaceX company launched its first private flight last month, sending a billionaire, cancer survivor and two ticket winners into orbit.
“We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. How extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning,” Shatner said in a Blue Origin video posted on the eve of his flight. “It looks like there’s a great deal of curiosity about this fictional character, Captain Kirk, going into space. So let’s go along with it and enjoy the ride.”
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